A cold winter and thoughts of spring fever have many of us yearning for sparkling windows and a clear and streamlined home. And, whenever it seems like your home is in pretty good order, you open up closets and cabinets and realize you’ve still got work to do. These are what I call the inner guts of your home.
Even though you may be able to hide clutter in there for a while, eventually it’ll get the best of you. Because every time you need to retrieve something from a drawer or cabinet that is stuffed to the rim with clutter, it will add some stress to your day and drain a little of your energy, your happiness and overall peace of mind.
If you are clearing clutter and wondering if you should toss something or keep something, ask yourself: Do I still love it? Do I use it? And do I need it? If you cannot answer a definite YES to any of those three questions…toss it! Remember these three basic guidelines when you are clearing out and cleaning out cabinetry and drawer space in your home:
Definition of purpose. Know what each drawer or cabinet is to be used for. Location should be a consideration.
Like items together. All baking supplies should be together in one cabinet, for example, arts and craft items in another, etc.
Frequency of use. The most used rooms in your home should house the most frequently used items. For example, the kitchen is what I consider the hub of your household or “prime real estate.” Only store household items that are used very frequently in here. Also, placing items used daily at eye level (or an easy arm’s reach) is more convenient than placing them up high or at floor level.
When cleaning out a drawer, have two shoe boxes and a brown paper shopping bag handy. Take the drawer completely out of its tracks and dump its entire contents onto a table or area of the floor (this way you won’t be tempted to close up the drawer and get off task when the phone rings). Use one shoe box to “recycle” items that will go back into the drawer, the other shoe box to “re-locate” items that belong elsewhere in the house, and use the bag to discard any items into the trash.
The kitchen “junk” drawer doesn’t actually have to remain a junk drawer if you decide on a purpose for the drawer - maybe to hold small office/homework supplies or phone message tools such as notepads, phone books, pens and pencils. Use various sized household containers and bins to hold small objects together, such as jewelry boxes to hold paper clips or sticky notes, to top of a shoe box to hold pencils and a sharpener, or even zip lock bags to hold push pins or loose coins.
Purchase an adjustable flatware drawer bin to hold your silverware. Don’t just randomly throw in your forks and knives.
Keep your refrigerator crisper drawers clean (remove them twice a year and wash them down with a mild dish soap). Line them with a sponge-textured mat (available at most discount department stores) to help absorb odors and keep loose fruits and vegetables from rolling around and bruising.
Label pantry cabinet shelves with types of foods that belong there to help keep it organized. Place a shopping inventory list on the inside of the cabinet door to mark when any last item is used. Create extra shelving with low mesh bins made to simply slide onto the underside of an existing shelf.
Use labeled shelf baskets in entertainment center cabinetry to house like items together, such as a bin labeled “electronics” to store all video chargers, camcorders and camera batteries.
Bathroom vanity drawers and medicine cabinets should be cleaned out more often because of expired medications and even old cosmetics, where bacteria can manifest.
Bedroom clothes closets can be transformed into order instantly simply by using all matching hangers so that the shoulders of all garments are evenly in line so you can find what you’re looking for quickly. Don’t use wire hangers. Chuck the plastic ones. I prefer all wooden hangers because they don’t bend or change shape with the weight of the clothing.